Event / Chichester Speakers Festival

John Hemming: People of the Rainforest

29 Nov 2019 – 10:30 - 11:45

In 1945 three young brothers joined Brazil’s first government-sponsored expedition to cut into its Amazonian rainforests, and were soon leading the tough two-year exploration. This, and a series of later expeditions into unknown terrain, made them the most famous explorers in South America of their day. The Villas Boas brothers made four thrilling and dangerous ‘first contacts’ with isolated indigenous peoples and organised dramatic rescues of others. Captivated by these resilient tribal communities, they spent the rest of their lives with them, learning about their societies and above all helping them adapt to modern Brazil without losing their cultural heritage, identity and pride. The Villas Boases’ drive for adventure and discovery quickly turned into political advocacy as they changed Brazilian attitudes to native peoples. Eccentric and charismatic, the brothers used their fame and status as national treasures to achieve humanitarian goals, securing 26,000 square kilometres as the Xingu protected area for both tropical forests and their indigenous guardians. This was the first such reserve, and it has been replicated throughout South America, to protect a significant proportion of the world’s surviving tropical rainforests.

John Hemming is a former director of the Royal Geographical Society and the author of many books, including The Conquest of the Incas. He is a renowned explorer of Amazonia and the leading authority on the history of Brazil’s indigenous peoples.

Doors Open at 10:10AM

Ticket price
£9.50 – £12.50*

*booking fee applies

People of the Rainforest
The Villas Boas Brothers, Explorers and Humanitarians of the Amazon
Chichester Speakers Festival
The Assembly Rooms
PO19 1LQ